Status: 03.10.2023, 20:42 p.m.
By: Carina Zimniok
In northern Bavaria, a whole pack of wolves has probably attacked two flocks of sheep. Several animals are dead, the shepherds horrified. They are calling for it to be shot down.
Rhön-Grabfeld – Julian Schulz is a fifth-generation shepherd, the 31-year-old loves his job. But on Monday, October 2, he had to experience a bad day. His flock was attacked. Probably several wolves tore sheep and goats in the district of Rhön-Grabfeld, just before the border with Hesse.
Julian Schulz is on his way to an appointment on Monday morning when his phone rings and it's his neighbor's turn. He says one wolf was in his herd, 800 merino sheep disappeared from the pasture, six animals dead. Schulz should rather take a look at his herd. "I turned around immediately," says Schulz. When he arrives at the two-hectare fenced pasture, it is empty except for two sheep – out of 140.
Schäfer is certain: "The bite marks were four centimetres apart – only a wolf has such a set of teeth"
Julian Schulz immediately sets out on a search. The flock is scattered, the shepherd finds only a few animals. Then a dead billy goat, weighing 120 kilograms. Another goat, of which only skeleton and fur remains. In the evening he collected almost all the animals. At night, motorists still report a lamb on the road, it has a throat bite, but is still alive. Up to six animals are dead in his colleague's home: it also took him a whole day to get the herd back under control.
The wolf is also causing displeasure among shepherds and farmers in Upper Bavaria. © Raimund Linke/Picture Alliance
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It is not yet one hundred percent certain that the animals were torn by a wolf. The State Office for the Environment has taken samples, a DNA test result is still pending. Schulz is certain, however: "The bite marks were four centimetres apart – only a wolf has such a set of teeth". When he checks the pasture fence on Tuesday, he also discovers footprints.
Two years ago, the shepherd lost two goats – to a she-wolf
It is not the first time that the shepherd has lost animals to the wolf. Two years ago, a she-wolf killed two goats. The Rhön, a 1500 square kilometre low mountain range, is one of nine regions in Bavaria where animals that are loyal to their location live. Just last week, there had been an attack ten kilometers away from the current crime scene.
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Shepherd Julian Schulz with his sheep and a billy goat in the pasture. © Julian Schulz
Schulz follows all the livestock protection recommendations of the authorities, the mobile electric fence is even 1 centimeters higher than prescribed at 10.20 meters. "It doesn't help, they just jumped over it," he says. "The" – the shepherd assumes that a pack has torn his sheep. His colleague's herd lacked about 30 kilos of meat: a meal for about four wolves.
Pregnant sheep frightened by wolf attacks – animals could lose unborn lambs
Schulz calls for the removal of the animals. The Rhön is a nature reserve, if there are no more sheep grazing there, the area will be overgrown. Sure, he gets compensation for the cunning sheep. But the main problem is that the pregnant sheep are completely frightened by the attack and probably lose their unborn lambs. "So I lose the genetics to continue breeding," he says. And then he adds: "I'm fed up."
Cunning sheep: This animal comes from the flock of the neighboring shepherd. © Julian Schulz
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